Love takes so many forms, even beyond the classifications set down by the Greeks. I have seen so much love in my life. My life has been, and continues to be a narrative about love. I have been tremendously lucky in this, to be so rich with so many kinds of love.
When I wrote Steps, I took care to explore the nature of all the forms of love I have experienced. From the caring warmth of my grandmother, to the torrid heat of the women I have known, to the breathless wonder of a Grecian sunrise. These experiences have molded me to who I am, and in turn, I have molded my words.
Romantic love is like adrenaline, a drug of euphoria which engulfs not only the soul but your very being. It is a love we all hope to encounter; it is a start of hopefully something much greater.
There are those who do not wish to go further than this euphoric love and leave their partner after the high dissipates. They do this only to seek out another lover in hopes that this feeling will come alive again. Never are they satisfied for any length of time. Those who treat love in this fashion do so out of fear or self-doubt. They cannot comprehend a love that comes from the work of love. In Steps, love is always on my mind, even the romantic love I continue to have for my wife:
“As for me, I would prefer to start my day with just a kiss to Sophia’s ever-so-tender lips, any lips I can find; they are all equally special to me. And should her rounded bottom somehow be exposed for easy access, that would be even more divine.
And the first words I would love to say to her would be, “I love you with all of my heart,” words I would think most caring couples would probably say every single morning of their lives together. I would also love to tell her all the wonderful things I have been thinking since we last talked, and, in return, I would love hearing any thoughts she might have.” – Steps, p283
This greater love, a love of devotion, is earned through the trials and errors of life and living with the one you have chosen as your mate. This love has the power to sustain you through all kinds of difficulties, even when love seems to have abandoned you. But it will last, given the time and opportunity and if both mates work through this ever-trying procedure. It involves the tenacity to travel this hard but most rewarding path. It will grow or die as all of life is lived: the ups and downs, the heartbreaks, the hell we all encounter, the births, deaths, prolonged illnesses, the wrongs we commit and the goodnesses we perform (many of which go completely unnoticed). All these things can seem like more than we can endure – but should we, we will be victorious.
There is also the love of cherished beings such as a baby or a pet. It is the love that requires our tending that is pure and joyful. These are acts for creatures who cannot care for themselves. This kind of selflessness will surprise you when you notice its presence within you.
There, too, is the love of art, making music, acting and dance. A love, not for all but for a very few, those which actually have the ability. There are those who simulate this feeling and need others to reassure them in this direction. They are as sheep. But still, they serve a very important role. They are worshipers of true artists. Most artists need self-recognition to be able to create even more with the talent they have been given. To some degree, these worshipers fulfill a need. That is, they make the artists whole. This too is a love that is as strong as any love which is totally in the mindset of those believers. This love is ability to melt away the influences of social pressures and become one with inward creativity. They have the ability to fly away from outside influences and enter into what I call heaven. It’s as real as any heaven my heart can imagine and it is a love that is very similar to romantic love. My first love was my painting. It is an expression of who I am as this excerpt from Steps reveals:
“In Greece, I painted “Blue Siren of Mandraki.” The concept was borrowed from Cezanne’s “Lake Bathers” series. My work depicts a single man descending from a steep hillside in the right upper corner; his head and shoulders above the horizon as if he is descending from the clouds surrounding him. He has a reddish glow, almost as if a god brought down to earth, different from the others, those sunbathers just below.
Of them, three are females and one a male, each sensually grotesque in their peculiar poses. The most striking is the elongated, larger blue female gure on the left. She, too, seems of another world. The others are hues of greens and yellows.
Obviously, the red male above is unwelcome, yet not unknown. On the left and above the group, a grove of eerie, ghost-like oak, all dead. The hillside, colors of greens and more towards black, tall grasses, a place where they take their leisure.
In truth, I am the odd one coming down, the one who is and will always be an outsider. This I have learned, the god that never was.” Steps, pp 140-141
There is also the love of self-indulgence, sacrificial love, the love of giving and receiving pain, the love of grieving and self-destruction. These types of love must ultimately be refocused and reconstructed into areas of higher thinking. If not, they can be destructive and not only for the individual but for those around them.
When you hold these types of love in your hands, they can be weapons or they can be tools. That decision is within all of us and we make it constantly.
I’ve spent the last six years turning that destructive force within me into something beautiful. My novel, Steps, is my attempt at welding a weapon into a tool. It is ultimately a narrative of love. I invite you to download a free chapter and consider it yourself:
Written by David James, Steps is the story of Issac, a country boy who leaves West Texas in search of hope, love and meaning. At every turn, however, he is met with insurmountable obstacles. Will he be able to overcome his internal and external demons?
Download a free excerpt from Steps today: